Troops with France’s anti-jihadist force in Mali have killed the military commander of an Al-Qaeda-aligned group linked to attacks in the region, Defence Minister Florence Parly said Friday.
Parly hailed the operation involving helicopters and ground troops that “neutralised” Ba Ag Moussa, the military commander of the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM).
Ag Moussa, alias ‘Bamoussa’, is “believed to be responsible for several attacks against Malian and international forces,” she said in a statement.
“He is considered one of the top military jihadists in Mali, in charge in particular of the training of new recruits.”
In June, French forces in Mali killed Abdelmalek Droukdel, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the rival jihadist group to GSIM.
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France has more than 5,000 troops deployed in its anti-jihadist Barkhane force in the Sahel region.
Mali is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2012 and has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since.
Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed the centre of the country and spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.